Mike coulter was an active actor long before he rose to fame as the muscular, super-strong Luke Cage in MTVU (that’s the Marvel TV Universe, of course). His long career as Cage on the Marvel/Netflix collaboration began in 2015 Jessica Jonesand ended in 2018 after two standalone seasons of Luke Cage and later in a Avengers-mashup-esque, The defenders.
Since 2019, Colter has held a starring role in the supernatural drama Paramount Plus, Evil.
On January 13, he will be on the big screen alongside Gerard Butler in the action thriller Airplane. Although the role doesn’t call for him to be a jackass as Cage, Colter has stayed in shape and still packs plenty of muscle on his 6’3″ frame to make the role of ex-military-turned-accused murderer compelling. in this white-knuckle action flick.
However, while filming in Puerto Rico, keeping weight off and staying hydrated wasn’t so easy.
“It was extremely hot,” says coulter. “You can’t mess around. Either someone brings you water all the time, or you get water because you sweat a gallon of water a day, so you need to put in at least two gallons.
Colter balances fitness with acting
“You need to preemptively stay in shape because when these roles come up, it’s very difficult to just get out of bed and start doing action roles without being reasonably fit,” says coulter.
coulter, now 46, earned a bachelor’s degree in theater at the University of South Carolina before heading to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career full-time. “Well, when I became an actor, I wasn’t looking for action roles,” he shares. “I was of average build, 6’3”, 205 lbs. I wasn’t a big guy, but I had a bit of an athletic build. So when I started working, my goal as an actor was always to be ready to play more male roles.
Actors often need to strike a balance with their size and shape. Too big and you’re typecast as the silent enforcer or the menacing villain. Colter was well aware of these potential setbacks. However, he had a plan in mind.
“Coming into the business, I realized there was a niche for someone like me who is pretty, you know, capable, but can also play the greats and play an action role, because I wanted to diversify my resume. And, coincidentally, when I started looking, thinking about doing action movies, I gained weight, I started to train a little more , because I just wanted to change a little bit. And that’s kind of how I see it. I try to stay within striking distance of being able to lose a little weight or gain a little weight, depending on what I will do.
Mike Colter’s essential exercises
“Squats and bench presses are really good, because [doing them] keeps the size and builds the mass you want,” says coulter. “They are a great base. I found myself doing a lot of deadlifts when I was in Puerto Rico, because I needed to get a little bigger.
“With deadlifts, you get that result faster. I don’t necessarily deadlift regularly because nobody likes deadlifts unless it’s their thing. I’m not one for deadlifting, but I incorporated that into my training and lots of cross training and CrossFit moves with dumbbells and kettlebells. I lifted quite heavy [in prep for the movie].”
One of the cardio activities he relied on on set for Airplane: sprints on the beach. “It has little impact on your joints, but it challenges you because the surface is so uneven,” he says.
coulter also shares that his favorite way to exercise is to use the Assault Bike for short bursts, leading to intense cardio sessions that still maintain muscle size.
Mike Colter’s nutritional philosophy
Colter admits he is, for the most part, a pescatarian. “I was able to get along with a lot of plant protein,” he shares. “I’m a big believer in intermittent fasting. I try to have all my food by eight or nine, then give myself 16 until I eat again. It fluctuates because it depends on my job. time.
“When I was training for Airplane, I found myself eating in the morning because I needed to keep the weight off. I would get up and after my workout, have a protein shake, have breakfast followed by another meal at lunch, and have another protein shake on the way to set in the evening, before dinner, then I would stop eating and repeating. Carbs are good, but that’s about what kind of carbs. You have to watch the sugars.
Mike Colter Recovery Tools
“Doing cold dive treatments, saunas, going to work, and then getting enough rest is really essential,” says Coulter. It also prioritizes sleep, aiming 7 to 8 hours a night as often as possible. “That’s the thing most people don’t really get to do is get enough sleep. Because we are all very busy, sleep is paramount in terms of recovery and getting your gains. Cold dives are a great mood booster. It’s intense, and once I don’t do it, I feel like I started my day with such a feat that I forced myself to do, that when I get out of it, the day becomes a bit more manageable.”
Mike Colter’s tips for success
“I’ve learned over the years that competition is something you really have to have in yourself,” he says. “You can’t compare yourself, your journey or your career to anyone else… It’s really an individual fight, always with yourself. Because some people are naturally gifted in some ways, and some people have to work harder in other areas, so as long as you keep those blinders on and are kind of focused on yourself, it will get the results you want .”